I always think of my dad on this day. He passed away over 11 years ago, yet not one day has gone by that I don't think of him.
These gangsta rappers that you hear on the radio singing about how tough life was growing up had a cake walk compared to my mom & dad. Mom grew up through the great depression as an orphan; my dad without a father.
On his 17th birthday my dad and my Uncle Dick dropped out of school & joined the army to send money home to support their mom. They joined the old horse calvary together. It was the only way two poor kids from Brooklyn would ever get to ride horses. Within a year, their unit was mechanized, & at 19 years of age my dad & my Uncle Dick were storming the beaches of Normandy. Omaha beach, dog green sector. As my dad said it, the source of his wildest dreams soon became the source of his worst nightmares.
The calvary unit, which was now 102nd recon, was supposed to set up communication systems once the 1st & 29th cleared the way. Things didn't go that way. The beach got jammed up & they became sitting ducks on the water. They wound up jumping over the side to avoid fire, with 80 pounds of equipment on their backs. Fortunately, dad & uncle Dick were strong swimmers from their summers at the city pools. Others were not so lucky, & drowned.
Only 8 of the 60 soldiers from that calvary unit made it back home alive from world war 2. Fortunately for me, both my dad Joseph sr. & my Uncle Dick were two of them.